Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration
in the United States

Jerome Blondell*

Health Statistician (retired), U.S. Government

Information is provided here to show that massive and illegal
immigration has adverse effects on economic justice, fairness to immigrants
that came legally, and the rule of law. After nearly three million illegal
aliens were granted a one-time amnesty in the United States in 1986, a new
group, at least four times as large, replaced them in just 20 years. This
paper analyzes demographic data from established and reputable sources
to present a concise and compelling case for prevention and protection,
effective enforcement, and a time-out from current levels of mass

Key Words: Illegal immigration; Economic costs; Health costs; Poverty; Education;
Social capital.

Costs of Immigration

Data has long been collected about the costs to American taxpayers
from illegal immigration and the presence of low-skill immigrants. A
report of the National Research Council (NRC) in 1997 estimated net
costs (after subtracting taxes paid by immigrants) at $15-20 billion in
1994-95 based on immigrants in 9.2 million households (Smith and
Edmonston, 1997)1. Much more recently, the Heritage Foundation
estimated net costs to be $89 billion in 2004 based on 4.5 million
households with low-skill (did not complete high school) households
containing 15.9 million immigrants (Rector and Kim, 2007)2. An
estimated 40 percent of these household residents were illegal. In
December 2007, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office
acknowledged that “The tax revenues that unauthorized immigrants
generate for state and local governments do not offset the total cost of
services provided to those immigrants”.

After adjusting for inflation and current population in 2007, the two
studies cited above estimate net costs ranging from $29 billion to $98
billion (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008)3. Distributed among the 105 million
non-immigrant households in the United States, that figure equals a cost
ranging from $276 to $933 per household each year. Similarly, the

* Jerome Blondell, Ph.D., M.P.H., Contact
1 Page 288
2 Page 15
3 Tables 2 and 702
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Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration in the US

Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform
( fiscal cost studies for nine states estimate net
costs ranging from $122 to $1,183 per native household (median $700),
based on expenses for education, emergency medical care, and
incarceration. These figures estimate the cost in taxes paid by median
income households with a current income of about $48,000.

A depressing of wages is also to be counted among the costs of the
immigration coming into the United States. Alan Tonelson (2006), a
research fellow with the U.S. Business and Industry Council Educational
Foundation, has used wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics for workers in the food services, hotel, construction, and
agricultural production industries. Tonelson estimated wage declines
between 2000 and 2005 of 1 to 2.2 percent for each of these industries.
Harvard economist George J. Borjas, coauthor of the 1997 NRC report,
estimated that from 1980 to 2000, immigration reduced wages of native-
born workers by $1,700, or 4 percent (Tella, 2006). For the poorest
(lowest 10 percent) workers, the reduction was 7.4 percent. The adverse
effects of immigrant labor disproportionately affects other minorities,
part-time workers, and earlier immigrants (Krikorian 2008)..

There is reason to question the impression that is common in the
United States that migrant labor is essential for picking the country’s
fruits and vegetables and that these workers’ low wages significantly
lower the cost of food. Phil Martin Professor of Resource Economics at
the University of California-Davis, found that the average household
spends just $357 a year on fruits and vegetables (Martin and Krikorian,
2007). For every dollar spent, just 18 cents go to the farmer and one-
third of that cost (or 6 cents) goes to the migrant laborer. Even if costs
for farm workers increased 40 percent, the total increase in cost per
household would be about $8 a year. A $1.80 head of lettuce would
increase in price by, at most, 10 cents.

Steven Malanga (coauthor of The Immigration Solution, 2007)4
raises an interesting and important point about the incompatibility of
mass immigration and the sort of “welfare state” that has come into
being in the United States and elsewhere:

Today, the modern welfare state has turned the self-selection process
upside down, offering immigrants from very poor countries incentives
to come to America [where they are]… more than twice as likely to use
government programs as native-born Americans. As Nobel laureate

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Jerome Blondell

Milton Friedman has said: “It’s just obvious that you can’t have free
immigration and a welfare state.”


Illegal immigrants into a country are by definition breaking the law
when they cross the border or overstay their visa. Not as commonly
recognized are additional laws that are probably broken by a majority of
illegal immigrants. These include working, faking identity, using fake or
stolen social security numbers, carrying fraudulent driver licenses or
driving without a license and/or insurance, and evading income taxes.

Reports from the 9/11 Commission suggest that the United States
system for granting visas and, the as yet unimplemented, plan to track
who exits or overstays their visa, is still a significant threat to national
security. A big part of the problem is that visa offices and airports and
other points of entry are overwhelmed and lack the funding, staff, and
technology needed to process the huge volume of foreign visitors. Some
estimates suggest that visa overstays constitute 30-40 percent of the
illegal alien population now in the United States. Politicians who
champion border enforcement only are missing a major portion of the
security threat.


According to one estimate a quarter of those without health
insurance are immigrants and a significant proportion of immigrants
require Medicaid (Krikorian 2008). Krikorian cites a study by Families
USA that estimated that each family with private-sector insurance had
to pay an additional nine hundred dollars in premiums to cover the
mandated health costs for the uninsured.

Between 1993 and 2003, a total of 60 California hospitals closed
because they were not paid for half their services (Cosman, 2005). The
proportion of uncompensated care caused by illegal aliens is unknown
and illegal immigrants are not solely to blame. The Emergency Medical
Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985 requires every emergency
room to treat every patient coming with an “emergency” (including
childbirth) even if unable to pay and even if illegally in the United
States. The law is tough; hospitals and doctors are fined up to $50,000
for refusing to treat. This unfunded federal mandate has caused dozens
of hospitals to go bankrupt.

Between 1997 and 2004, wait times in the United States’ emergency
departments for emergent illness or injury that should be seen in less
than 15 minutes increased, on average, from 10 to 14 minutes (Wilper et

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Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration in the US

al., 2008). This means that nearly half of the serious cases were not seen
within the recommended time. For example, cases diagnosed with acute
myocardial infarction (heart attack) experienced increased wait times
from 8 to 20 minutes. Crowding as a result of emergency department
closures and increased visits, including those by uninsured illegal
immigrants, were among the important reasons for longer waits. The
median wait time for emergency room cases of all types was 38 minutes
in a stratified random sample of 30 California emergency departments
around the early part of 2001, which was 52% longer than the 25
minutes reported nationwide at that time (Lambe et al., 2003). Forty-
two percent of Californians had to wait an hour or longer before being


Illegal aliens, who–unlike aliens entering the country legally –
undergo no screening, are increasingly introducing infectious diseases.
Contagious diseases that have largely disappeared in the United States,
such as tuberculosis (TB), malaria, Chagas' disease, cysticercosis (from
pork tapeworm), Hansen’s disease (leprosy), and dengue fever have
begun to recur, especially along the southern border and in areas with
high immigrant populations (Cosman, 2005).

After the TB epidemic in the United States from 1985 to 1992, the
rate of TB among persons born outside the United States declined by a
third (CDC, 2007). Nevertheless, the rate of TB among foreign-born
persons is 9.5 times higher than among U.S.-born persons. It is
noteworthy that 1.2 percent of the10,662 TB cases in 2005 were
multiple-drug resistant forms of TB and 82 percent of these occurred
among foreign-born persons. Treating drug-resistant tuberculosis costs
around $250,000 and takes two years.

Illegitimacy and Anchor Babies

An estimated one-third of a million illegal alien mothers come to
the United States each year and have a baby (Cosman, 2005). That baby
automatically becomes a citizen because of being born on U.S. soil
(known as birthright citizenship); an interpretation of the fourteenth
amendment of the Constitution that has been disputed and a practice no
longer followed by any other country. Heather MacDonald tells of this
in her article “Hispanic Family Values” in City Journal:

Nearly half of the children born to Hispanic mothers in the U.S. are
born out of wedlock, a proportion that has been increasing rapidly with
no signs of slowing down. Given what psychologists and sociologists now

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Jerome Blondell

know about the much higher likelihood of social pathology among those
who grow up in single-mother households, the Hispanic baby boom is
certain to produce more juvenile delinquents, more school failure, more
welfare use, and more teen pregnancy in the future . . . Forty-five
percent of all Hispanic births occur outside of marriage, compared with
24 percent of white births and 15 percent of Asian births.

MacDonald reports that Mexican-Americans have the highest teen
birth rate of any ethnic or racial subgroup, exceeding that of Asians and
white girls by three-fold. High teen birth rates are associated with more
juvenile delinquency, higher drop-out rates from schools and more

As U.S. citizens, these children can stay permanently; their
citizenship can prevent a parent’s deportation; and–once they are
adults–they can sponsor their parents and other relatives for permanent

Education and Language

In 2006, America had 12 million illegal and 26 million legal
immigrants (Camarota, 2007). These 38 million immigrants total one-
eighth of the population, up from one in 20 in 1970 (Krikorian, 2008)5.
Over the past two decades the United States (5 percent of the world
population) has accepted more legal immigrants than all other nations
in the world combined (Easterbrook, 2003)6. A third of adult legal
immigrants, and 57 percent of adult illegal immigrants, haven't
completed high school. Nine percent of American citizens aged 18-64
are without a high school degree. School-age illegal immigrants were 2.8
percent of the total school population in 2007, costing $14 billion a year.
If U.S.-born children of illegals are included, then both groups comprise

6.2 percent of the school age population, costing $36 billion. (Camarota,
2007; U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). Krikorian (2008)7 says that in 2005,
10.3 million children of immigrants accounted for 19 percent of the
school-age population and that figure alone accounted for all of the
recent growth in the school-age population.
Only about half (52 percent) of Hispanic immigrants who have
earned U.S. citizenship can speak English well or even somewhat well, a
new study has found, even though the citizenship test requires
immigrants to demonstrate English proficiency (Hakimzadeh et al. and

5 Page 6
6 Page 10
7 Pages 175-6

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Cohn 2007). Of Hispanics who are not citizens, only 25 percent report
being able to speak English “well” or “pretty well.”

Proponents of immigration expect that by the third generation,
Mexican-Americans will be on par with native U.S. citizens. Research
shows this not to be true. “Proponents of unregulated immigration
simply ignore the growing underclass problem among later generations
of Hispanics, with its attendant gang involvement and teen pregnancy”
(MacDonald et al. The Immigration Solution, 2007)8. Mexican welfare
receipt is twice as high as that of natives. Moreover, welfare use
increases between second and third generations to 31 percent.
MacDonald noted that “third-generation Mexican-Americans remain
three times as likely to drop out of high school as whites and one and a
half times as likely to drop out as blacks. They complete college at one-
third the rate of whites.”

Further evidence that later generations of Mexicans do not
assimilate is reported in the book Generations of Exclusion by Edward E.
Telles and Vilma Ortiz (2008)9. Affiliated with UCLA’s Chicano Studies
Research Center, they found 1,576 interviews with Mexican Americans
performed in 1965. They performed follow-up interviews on about 700
of the 1965 respondents and their children in 2000. Their statistical
models show that the low education levels of Mexican Americans
impede other types of assimilation, including income, use of English,
and cultural assimilation, even by the fourth generation. In 2000,
descendents of the 1965 respondents lived in neighborhoods that were
even more Hispanic than the ones their parents and grandparents grew
up in. The authors conclude:

Whereas European Americans assimilated on most dimensions by the
third generation, Mexican Americans do not. Indeed, there are no signs
of complete assimilation on any dimension even by the fourth
generation, though loss of Spanish comes closest. Indeed, one can easily
point to dis-assimilation, such as the increasing residential isolation
from 1965 to 2000, or to the fact that education worsens from the
second to the third generation-since-immigration (Telles and Ortiz,

Among the factors responsible for lack of assimilation Telles and
Ortiz point primarily to low education. However, they also acknowledge
that the “size of the Mexican American population in the American

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334 Jerome Blondell

Southwest and continuing immigration further promote residential
isolation and ethnic persistence (Telles and Ortiz, 2008)12.” In another
words continued massive immigration, both legal and illegal, adversely
effect earlier immigrants.


Illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children are twice as likely to be
below the poverty level as native U.S. citizens (23 percent vs. 11.5
percent), according to the Center for Immigration Studies (Camarota,
2007). In The Progress Paradox (2003)10, Gregg Easterbrook
acknowledged that immigration is “the primary reason poverty persists
in the United States,” because poverty among native-born Americans
declined from 1979 to 1999. He adds, “Factor out immigration and the
rise in American inequality disappears.”

Using government reports, Krikorian (2008) estimated that 75
percent of the increase in poverty from 1989 to 1997 was due to
immigrants and their native-born children. Telles and Ortiz (2008)
found that overall, home ownership and overall wealth did not increase,
for later generations of American-born descendents of Mexican
American immigrants who were in the United States in 1965, unlike
earlier European immigrants.


Krikorian (2008)11 has summarized some of the chief environmental
impacts due to increased population that is primarily driven by massive
immigration. Interestingly, per capita levels of carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gases since 1990 and per capita energy use since 1979 have
declined. However, because of population increases, mostly due to
immigration, greenhouse gases are up 16 percent and energy use is up
almost 25 percent. Similarly, for solid waste, per capita levels stayed
about the same from 1990 to 2005, but total levels increased by 20


Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. was a leading liberal democrat, one of the
founders of Americans for Democratic Action, a professor of history at
Harvard, and Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy. In 1991
he published The Disuniting of America that insists on the importance of
assimilation of immigrants. He said:

10 Pages 10-11
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America increasingly sees itself as composed of groups more or less
ineradicable in their ethnic character. The multiethnic dogma abandons
historic purposes, replacing assimilation by fragmentation, integration
by separatism . . . The militants of ethnicity now contend that a main
objective of public education should be the protection, strengthening,
celebration, and perpetuation of ethnic origins and identities.
Separatism, however, nourishes prejudices, magnifies differences and
stirs antagonisms (Schlesinger, 1991)12.

But even in the United States, ethnic ideologues have not been without
effect. They have set themselves against the old American ideal of
assimilation. They call on the republic to think in terms not of
individual but of group identity and to move the polity from individual
rights to group rights. They have made a certain progress in
transforming the United States into a more segregated society. They
have done their best to turn a college generation against Europe and
the Western tradition. They have imposed ethnocentric, Afrocentric,
and bilingual curricula on public schools, well designed to hold minority
children out of American society. They have told young people from
minority groups that the Western democratic tradition is not for them.
They have encouraged minorities to see themselves as victims and to
live by alibis rather than claim the opportunities opened for them by the
potent combination of black protest and white guilt. They have filled
the air with recrimination and rancor and have remarkably advanced
the fragmentation of American life. . . . the upsurge of ethnicity is a
superficial enthusiasm stirred by romantic ideologues and unscrupulous
hucksters whose claim to speak for their minorities is thoughtlessly
accepted by the media (Schlesinger, 1991)13.

The future of immigration policy depends on the capacity of the
assimilation process to continue to do what it has done so well in the
past: to lead newcomers to an acceptance of the language, the
institutions, and the political ideals that hold the nation together
(Schlesinger, 1991)14.

Just one example, reported in Tucson, Arizona, in 2008, illustrates

the danger that Schlesinger is discussing (Mark Cromer, The Washington

Times, July 4, 2008):

Ethnic Studies courses used as academic cover to brazenly indoctrinate

12 Pages 16-7
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Jerome Blondell

students with a racially based, anti-American perspective come as no
surprise to John Ward, a former history teacher in the Tucson Unified
School District (TUSD). Mr. Ward, who is of Latino heritage, was
tapped to teach a history course at Tucson High Magnet School. Mr.
Ward said he was comfortable that the course featured a Mexican-
American perspective, but what he didn't know was that he was
expected to only assign grades – a bureaucratic loophole that allowed
the students to be lectured by advocates without teaching credentials.

The coursework was steeped in hard-edged anti-American rhetoric.
"They declared students were living in an occupied, colonized land," Mr.
Ward recalled. A central tenet of the instruction was that white
Americans oppress Latinos, and that the education system is a tool of
white oppression. The impact on students, Mr. Ward said, was

"By the end of the class, they were very pessimistic and angry about
America," he said. "They were convinced that anyone who isn't brown is
out to get them, to oppress them." When Mr. Ward challenged the
angry, one-dimensional instruction students were receiving through the
class, he said his own Latino heritage offered no protection. "They
called me a racist, a tool of the oppressor, a 'Vendido', which means
'sellout,'" he said. "They replied that all education is politically-charged
and that they must combat the dominant culture's view of history. They
believe non-white kids need an anti-white curriculum."

If Mr. Ward was hoping that administrators from TUSD would
intervene, he quickly learned otherwise. "They didn't want to pick this
battle," Mr. Ward said. "They were white administrators that could see
the writing on the wall if they tried to defend me. They'd immediately
be tarred as ‘racists.’”

Mr. Ward eventually resigned his position and now works for the
Arizona state auditor. He said the radicals who lectured his class now
have their credentials and are teaching "Raza Studies" at TUSD. The
program is set to be expanded throughout the district.

Samuel Huntington is a professor of political science at Harvard
who wrote Who Are We? to discuss American national identity and the
possible cultural threat posed to it by large-scale Latino immigration.
The following paragraph, paraphrased from his book, summarizes key
aspects of our culture that need to be preserved, if it is to continue to

America is not a nation of immigrants, but rather of settlers and

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Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration in the US

immigrants. An Anglo-Protestant settler society came to the new world
in 17th and 18th centuries. Settlers leave an existing society as a group in
order to establish a new community with a sense of collective purpose.
Immigrants do not create a new society but rather join the existing
society created by the settlers. Colonists conceived themselves founders,
settlers, and planters, not immigrants. Settlers brought Christianity,
Protestant values and moralism, a work ethic, English language, British
traditions of law, justice, land ownership and limits on government
power, and a legacy of European art, literature, philosophy, and music.
This original culture persisted 300 years, including especially language,
religion, principles of government, manners, and customs. Immigrants
became Americans by adopting the Anglo-Protestant culture and
political values, which benefited them and the country. Millions of
immigrants achieved wealth, power, and status in American society
precisely because they assimilated.

The fundamental message from Schlesinger and Huntington is that
diverse cultures do enrich us with their art, music, literature, and
culinary delights, but there are also core values concerning morality,
family, political and social values and the rule of law that the majority of
citizens want immigrants to assimilate.

Victor Davis Hanson (Hanson, 2003)15 echoed this view, saying that
“the Mexican immigrant could and should retain a pride in his ethnic
heritage–to be expressed in music, dance, art, literature, religion and
cuisine only–while being mature enough to see that the core political,
economic and social values of his abandoned country were to be
properly and rapidly forgotten.”

A number of largely unexpected international developments
highlight how internal animosities can break nations apart. Very few
foresaw the breakup of the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, or
Yugoslavia, tribal wars in Rwanda, Sudan, and Kenya, and the separatist
movement in Quebec. If the United States continues to champion ethnic
and racial divisions; concerns for social justice could have the
unintended consequence of reinforcing developing hatreds between
ethnic, racial, and national groups.

There is some evidence that such balkanization may already be
occurring. During the Los Angeles riots of 1992, there were 2,000
injuries, some 53 deaths and about 1,100 buildings destroyed by arson.
Subsequent review found that 45 percent of the buildings destroyed

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Jerome Blondell

were Korean-owned and that Blacks had targeted these properties partly
in protest to the killing of a Black teenager who fought with a Korean
store-owner and was killed. The Sheriff of Los Angeles County, Lee
Baca, a Latino raised in east Los Angeles, stated in a recent Los Angeles
Times editorial (June 12, 2008), “I would . . . suggest that some of L.A.'s
so-called gangs are really no more than loose-knit bands of blacks or
Latinos roaming the streets looking for people of the other color to
shoot. Our gang investigators have learned this through interviews in
Compton and elsewhere throughout the county.” He also states there is
“a serious interracial violence problem in this county involving blacks
and Latinos. . . Latino gang members shoot blacks not because they're
members of a rival gang but because of their skin color. Likewise, black
gang members shoot Latinos because they are brown”.

Suzanne Fields (2005) quoted the cultural critic Terry Teachout
regarding the loss of assimilation:

Teachout suggests now that the melting pot is battered beyond repair
and the metaphor is obsolete. “The common culture of widely shared
values and knowledge that once helped unite Americans of all creeds,
colors and classes no longer exists,” he laments in Commentary
magazine. “In its place, we now have a 'balkanized' group of subcultures
whose members pursue their separate, unshared interests in an
unprecedented variety of ways.”

Breakdown of Social Networks and Trust

Harvard Professor Putnam surveyed 41 selected communities in the
United States to determine what factors influence social capital
(Putnam, 2007). Social capital is defined as “social networks and the
associated norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness.” His basic finding is
that trust, altruism, and community cooperation is lower in ethnically
diverse neighborhoods. Where social capital is higher, children grow up
healthier, safer and better educated; people live longer, healthier lives;
and democracy and the economy work better. Diversity, on the other
hand, can lead to more creativity (for example, more Nobel laureates,
National Academy of Science memberships, and academy awards). In
support of his findings, Putnam cited a study performed at the county
level that found counties with greater ethnic diversity were less socially
connected (Rupasingha, 2006).

Putnam’s “Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey,”
conducted in 2000, surveyed nearly 30,000 respondents representative of
the 41 communities and contained a sample of 3,000 representatives of

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Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration in the US

the nation as a whole (Putnam, 2007). Los Angeles and San Francisco
were among the most ethnically diverse “human habitations in history,”
but had interracial trust measures that were relatively low, only half
those found in New Hampshire and Montana. People in areas of greater
diversity have lower confidence in local government and the news media,
vote less often, are less likely to work on community projects, give to
charity and volunteer less often, have fewer friends, have less perceived
happiness and quality of life, and spend more time watching television.
In short, members of diverse communities tend to withdraw more. The
educated, well-off homeowners tended to be more trusting and young
people, Blacks, and Hispanics, less so. Fundamental to this review, a
high level of “immigration seems to have a somewhat more consistent
and powerful effect” in terms of the negative influence on social capital
than does ethnic diversity even after correcting for confounders.

Putnam found that social capital did not improve in communities
that had diverse populations in 1980 and 1990 compared with
communities that became diverse more recently in 2000 (Putnam, 2007).
He speculated that social capital would increase over long time periods
based partly on the immigration experience in the early 1900s. Putnam
recommends that communities with high rates of immigration should
reconstruct social identities (both immigrants and native-born) by
assimilation and hyphenated identities that help ethnic groups see
themselves as “members of a shared group with a shared identity.”

In 2007, New America Media conducted a telephone poll of 1,105
African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic adults. The poll
supported Putnam’s findings. The sample was designed to be
representative of the adult population of the three major racial and
ethnic minorities in the United States. The poll was conducted in areas
of the country that have significant (10 percent or more) African-
American, Asian-American and Hispanic populations. The three groups
seem more trusting of whites than of each other. The poll found that 61
percent of Hispanics, 54 percent of Asians and 47 percent of African-
Americans would rather do business with whites than with members of
the other two groups.

In addition, 44 percent of Hispanics and 47 percent of Asians are
“generally afraid of African-Americans because they are responsible for
most of the crime.” Meanwhile, 46 percent of Hispanics and 52 percent
of African-Americans believe “most Asian business owners do not treat
them with respect.” And half of African Americans feel threatened by
Latin American immigrants because “they are taking jobs, housing and

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Jerome Blondell

political power away from the Black community.” The margin of error
for the Asian-American sample (400 interviews), the Hispanic sample
(355 interviews) and the African-American sample (350 interviews) is
approximately 5 percentage points.

Polls Show Significant Support, Even Among Hispanics,
for Reducing Illegal Immigration

It is a surprising fact, in light of the impression left by the media,
that legal Hispanic immigrants do not uniformly support amnesty or
special treatment for illegal immigrants. Polls show majority support
among American Hispanics for a variety of conservative immigration
reforms, including requiring immigrants to be proficient in English
(Bauer, 2007). An August 2005 Time magazine poll of Hispanics
revealed that 61 percent considered illegal immigration either an
“extremely serious” or a “very serious” problem, and 41 percent thought
the United States was not doing enough to secure its borders against
illegal immigration, while 19 percent felt it was doing “too much”. More
recently, a June 2007 Gallup poll found an overwhelming majority of
Hispanic-Americans (71 percent) feel immigration should stay at current
levels or decrease (Bauer, 2007).

Another 2005 survey of 1,000 likely Hispanic voters conducted by a
Democratic advocacy group found that 34 percent think there already
are too many immigrants in the U.S. and that new entrants into the
country should be reduced or stopped altogether (Lambro, 2005).
Significantly, 53 percent of Hispanics said they would support a
democratic candidate “who says the current level of immigration
threatens American workers and our national security.”

In April 2007, McLaughlin & Associates conducted a national
survey of 1,000 likely general election voters. An additional sample of
202 Latino voters was conducted to bring the national sample of Latinos
to 300 respondents. The additional responses were then weighted into
the overall results in order to ensure a sample representative of national
voters. . . . The survey of 1,000 likely general election voters has an
accuracy of + 3.1 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval, while the
subsample of Latino voters has an accuracy of + 5.6 percent at a 95
percent confidence interval. Of the total sample, 73 to 82 percent
supported requiring a valid photo ID to vote, prohibition of drivers’
licenses for illegals, repeal of local sanctuary laws that protect illegals,
and changing U.S. laws granting birthright citizenship to any child whose
parents are not U.S. citizens. Interestingly, 53 to 82 percent of all

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Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration in the US

Latinos surveyed supported these same measures. Latinos’ support was
the same as all respondents for requiring a valid photo ID to vote (82
percent), less for prohibition of drivers' licenses (59 percent among
Latinos vs. 73 percent among all respondents), ten percent less for
repeal of sanctuary laws (67 percent among Latinos vs. 77 percent
among all respondents), and markedly less, but still a majority, for
eliminating birthright citizenship if neither parent is a U.S. citizen (53
percent among Latinos vs. 73 percent among all respondents).

A Zogby-CIDAC poll of 1,010 citizens in the United States and
1,000 Mexicans was conducted in February 2006 (Dinan, 2006). The
study revealed that just 36 percent of Mexicans have a favorable view of
Americans, compared to 84 percent of Americans who have a favorable
view of Mexicans. Approximately half of Mexicans give low ratings to
Americans on the characteristics of being “hard working” (48 percent),
“tolerant”(49 percent) or “honest” (43 percent). The biggest consensus
among Mexicans is that 72 percent rate Americans highly on being
racists. When asked why the United States is wealthier than Mexico, 62
percent of Mexicans selected because “it exploits others’ wealth” (vs. 12
percent of U.S. citizens). Both surveys carry a margin of error of +/-3.2
percentage points. An earlier Zogby poll of 801 Mexicans chosen at
random throughout Mexico in 2002 found that 58 percent agreed that
“the territory of the United States’ Southwest rightfully belongs to
Mexico”. In the same poll, 57 percent said that “Mexicans should have
the right to enter the U.S. without U.S. permission” (Krikorian, 2008)16.

A recent December 2007 poll by Harris Interactive for the “Bradley
Project on America’s National Identity” surveyed 2,421 respondents
online and then weighted results by age, gender, race/ethnicity,
education, income, and propensity to be online (The Washington Times
editorial, June 8, 2008). The majority of those surveyed, including 80
percent of whites, 86 percent of Blacks and 74 percent of Hispanics fear
that America is being balkanized and more divided along ethnic and
cultural lines. Nearly 90 percent of all surveyed agreed “learning English
and embracing American culture and values is important to successful

Ethical Considerations

The following discussion of the ethical implications of mass
immigration has been developed from the joint article “The Ethics of
Immigration: An Exchange” by William W. Chip and Michael A.

16 Page 57

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Jerome Blondell

Scaperlanda (First Things: The Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public
Life, May 2008, pp. 40-46). A number of provocative points are made:

Catholics and many others feel that more prosperous nations have
an obligation to help foreigners who come to their shores in search of
security and a livelihood. However, this sentiment fails to recognize that
Mexico is not Sudan. Unemployment in Mexico is about the same as in
the United States, but minimum wages are much lower and
opportunities to improve are almost non-existent for most. There is no
poverty safety net similar to that in the United States and the divide
between the rich and poor in Mexico is far greater.

The moral obligations that Catholics would impose on the
prosperous nations is not one they impose on themselves to any
significant degree. They do not offer free education in Catholic schools
or free treatment in Catholic hospitals, because they cannot afford to.
The practical question is whether government agencies in prosperous
nations are capable of meeting the needs of mass economic migration
without neglecting the responsibilities to their own young people,
minorities, and those in poverty. It is arguable that federal, state, and
local governments are barely capable of fulfilling promises to underprivileged
Americans. From this, it would follow that they therefore
cannot be expected to take on tens of millions of poor immigrants.

American workers are poorly protected in labor markets. The claim
that Americans won’t take jobs that immigrants do not stand up to
examination. Native citizens have and are performing garbage collection
and agricultural stoop-labor. Wages may not be generous, but they can
cover rent, a car, and health insurance. Employers outsource these jobs
through private contractors, providing paltry wages and little or no
benefits. They then argue that a modest reduction in the wages of
working-class Americans is a morally acceptable price to pay for helping
immigrants escaping dire poverty. This begs the question of whether
employing immigrants is the best way to alleviate global poverty. Data
already presented here show that the United States cannot ensure social
and economic assimilation of the enormous numbers of immigrants now
in the country.

An unintended consequence of mass immigration has been the
increasing dependence by families of upper-middle and upper classes on
immigrant menials to clean their homes, provide landscaping, rear their
children, and, by extension, take advantage of lower prices at hotels,
restaurants, and newly constructed housing. In short, the well-off exploit
immigrant labor to provide themselves a lifestyle that could not be

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Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration in the US

sustained without short-changing immigrants on health care, education,
welfare, and retirement costs or passing those costs on to taxpayers. The
majority of mainstream Americans, both liberal and conservative,
broadly share goals of upward mobility for the poor, affordable welfare,
and the availability of jobs for all citizens. At the same time, they will not
accept third-world encroachments on their neighborhoods that
undermine quality-of-life including improper disposal of trash, violation
of local noise ordinances, high rates of pedestrian accidents,
overcrowded residences, drugs and crime. Today’s massive influx of
immigrants prevents their getting beyond the low rung of the economic

Victor Davis Hanson (2003)17, who has worked with and taught
many Mexican-Americans, documents the tough life of the agricultural
immigrants working in California and their unethical treatment:

Roy Beck considers the ethical arguments of globalists, who contend
that borders and communities are barriers to a just world and that well-
off countries have an obligation to take in immigrants from the
impoverished countries (Beck 20). He suggests “there may be incredible
need in the rest of the world, but any attempt to meet all that need
would mean worthless tiny gestures to each individual. So a person or a
country must limit beneficence to a small enough number of people so
they can actually benefit.” Others argue that resources need to be
directed to those already in the country who are ill-fed and unable to
secure decent housing. Instead, he says, people need to systematically
compare competing claims for immigration slots in terms of which
groups have more moral weight than others and how will meeting the
needs of one group of people have the effect of denying the needs of
another group. Once the effort is made to choose immigrants ethically, it
becomes clear that current U.S. immigration policy is a failure, oriented
towards rewarding businesses and well-off Americans with cheap labor
in a haphazard manner that has little to do with helping those who are
most deserving of humanitarian aid.

Political Barriers and Solutions

The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations conducted 2,800
interviews of ordinary Americans and a cross-section of 400 “opinion
leaders” in 2002 (Beck and Camarota, 2002). Opinion leaders included
journalists, company CEOs, university presidents and faculties, members
of Congress, the administration, church leaders, and leaders of major

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Jerome Blondell

interest groups. We are told that “the survey found that 70 percent of
the public said that reducing illegal immigration should be a ‘very
important’ foreign-policy goal of the United States, compared to only 22
percent of those in the elite” [i.e., the opinion leaders]. Regarding legal
immigration, 55 percent of the public want it reduced, and 27 percent
said it should stay the same. For elites, only 18 percent want it reduced
and 60 percent want no cuts.

In an interview with Front Page Magazine (July 18, 2008), Krikorian
suggested that “client politics” explains why politicians continue to allow
mass immigration and poor enforcement despite “overwhelming
opposition from the general public.” So Congress tends to side with
groups like produce farmers, real estate developers, and owners of hotel
and restaurant chains as well as ethnocentric groups like La Raza who
claim to represent illegal immigrants and favor more leniency toward
them. “When you have highly organized interests like this, all on the
same side of an issue, with only the broader public interest in the other
side, you can see how it’s hard to change things.” In the same interview,
Krikorian also expressed concern that influential members of the elite
(Congress, academics, business, and religious leaders) feel they have
moved beyond the narrow, parochial concerns of the general public in
favor of global interests. Such individuals have less concern for
sovereignty and are less likely to favor employment of black teenagers
over newly arrived illegal immigrants from Central America.

Many proponents of unlimited immigration entertain an image of
one world where everyone will get along once the prosperous nations
help them with their poverty and education. For example, Gregg
Easterbrook, a senior editor of The New Republic, says “immigration is a
social good; immigrants bring vitality to the economy and the culture,
and in a troubled world the United States should take in as many as it
can. (Easterbrook, 2003)18.” Taking a contrary view, however, Dr. Victor
Davis Hanson (2005) points out that:

Progressives are understandably proud of environmental legislation,
zoning laws and the culture of recycling in states like California. But
when millions in this country don’t speak English, are impoverished and
uneducated, and live outside the law, it is only natural they lack the
money to worry about how many families live in a single house, whether
cars meet emission standards, or discarded furniture is disposed of in
authorized landfills rather than on roadsides.

18 Page 10

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Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration in the US

Hanson’s book Mexifornia (Hanson, 2003)19 summarizes the
fundamental difficulty in achieving assimilation. He gained insight
growing up on a farm in central San Joaquin Valley, California, and
teaching at California State University, Fresno, where he had direct
contact with migrants that allowed him to develop a compassionate
understanding of their problems. He raises some important questions:

Rarely now do southwesterners express a confidence in our culture or a
willingness to defend the larger values of Western civilization. The
result is that our public schools are either apathetic about, or outright
hostile to the Western paradigm–even as millions from the south are
voting with their feet and their lives to enjoy what we so smugly dismiss.
Our elites do not understand just how rare consensual government is in
the history of civilization. They wrongly think that we can instill
confidence by praising the less successful cultures that aliens are
escaping, rather than explaining the dynamism and morality of the
civilization that our newcomers have pledged to join . . .

How, then, can we recreate civic education to help unite an increasingly
fragmented society, and to bring Hispanics and other recent arrivals
into the body politic of the United States? It will not be easy–if only
because millions of Americans in education, the arts and government
have invested a great deal in, and profited handsomely from, a relativist
and multicultural society that rejects any unifying core. Their dream is
vastly different from the multiracial society in which millions of
Americans with a broad spectrum of skin colors speak the same
English, share the same commitment to the values of the Constitution,
and gradually become indistinguishable through integration,
assimilation and intermarriage. Returning to a multiracial society under
the aegis of Western culture would put a lot of people in the
universities, politics and government bureaucracies quite literally out of
business . . .

The really perilous course lies in preserving the status quo and
institutionalizing our past failed policies: open borders, unlimited
immigration, dependence on cheap and illegal labor, obsequious
deference to Mexico City, erosion of legal statutes, multiculturalism in
our schools, and a general breakdown in the old assimilationist model.
True, the power of popular culture can superficially unite us and
prevent the dangerous balkanization of the type we have seen in
Eastern Europe, at least for a time.

19 Pages 86, 122, 144-5

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Jerome Blondell

Harvard Professor Borgas has focused on the approach of Canada,
Australia, and New Zealand:

Canada, Australia and New Zealand have far more proactive
approaches to immigration: They have devised systems that are
designed to favor people who will contribute economically to the
country and who will assimilate quickly . . . Canada, New Zealand and
Australia have point systems designed to get them the immigrants that
they want . . . All three countries take age, education level and English
language proficiency into account, as well as family connection.
(Borgas, 2001).

Both Germany and France now have programs to assure that
Muslims who immigrate to those two countries assimilate more readily
into the culture. In Germany, for example, one state interviews potential
Muslim immigrants about the applicants' opinions on equal rights for
women, religious freedom, tolerance for homosexuality and honor
killings (Bryant, 2006). The German approach was initiated in response
to 48 honor killings since 1996 where Muslim men (usually family
members) killed women who did not follow through on an arranged
marriage or married outside the faith. The purpose of the interview is to
assure that future Muslims will accept under oath basic German law.
Similarly, though less effectively, France has initiated a civics training
program for imams and Muslim chaplains that aims to offer a broad-
based understanding of French legal institutions, politics and republican

Readers interested in exploring other points related to the issues
raised in this review are referred to Krikorian’s new book The New Case
Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal. He provides well-
documented information about the history of the immigration issue,
changes in the approaches to assimilation, effects on government
spending, and potential threats to sovereignty and national security and
most importantly, a sensible approach to reduce immigration that will
alleviate many of the problems now experienced by citizens and legal


Projections by the Center for Immigration Studies, based on current
immigration policy, estimate that in fifty years (2057) the population of
the United States will be 458 million (Krikorian 2008)20. That’s 100

20 Page 194-5

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Adverse Impacts of Massive and Illegal Immigration in the US

million more than it would be if there were no immigration during that
period. At that point, about 25-30 percent of the population would be
immigrants and their children. Such a massive increase cannot help but
bring more disruption in all the areas outlined in this brief review,
including wages, crime, welfare, environmental concerns, and social

Roy Beck, Executive Director of NumbersUSA, recommends
reducing immigration to pre-1965 levels and has commented on the
paradox that 70 to 80 percent of Americans want to see immigration
markedly reduced, while most have not really spoken out much about
legal immigration. In a video, Immigration by the Numbers (a compelling,
graphic explanation of why immigration cannot significantly help solve
world poverty problems, available on the top right-hand side of homepage), he notes that many feel “we
don’t want to talk about things that would hurt the feelings of our
immigrant friends. And we would certainly not want to say anything or
do anything that would bring hostility toward the foreign-born among
us.” In short, he points to the paradox that Americans are pro-legal
immigrant, but anti-immigration. He advocates directing resentment and
political action “on public officials who have set immigration numbers
without regard to their effect on the American people.”

The poll results among immigrants who are already in the United
States show a widespread feeling that the current immigration chaos is
unfair to the millions who entered the country legally. There are
hundreds of thousands each year who are eager to assimilate. There is
the sense that fairness to those who have abided by the law requires that
they be given priority over those who violate the law. This lends itself to
the view that state and local cooperation with federal efforts should be
mandatory because the problem of chaotic illegal immigration is
harmful to both native and naturalized citizens in so many ways.

This brief review of United States immigration problems suggests
that teachers and professors, religious and business leaders, government
and media programs who (or which) champion diversity and
multiculturalism are having unintended adverse consequences in
selected communities. Programs intended to improve the lives of
immigrants should carefully pre-and post-test to determine whether the
welfare and happiness of immigrants and their surrounding communities
improve or deteriorate. More sophisticated multivariate and
longitudinal studies of the type by Putnam (2007) and Telles and Ortiz
(2008) are needed. Evidence presented here suggests a time-out from

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Jerome Blondell

current excessive immigration levels, more selective criteria for
admission, eliminating birthright citizenship and chain migration, and
assimilation through education are the best hope for helping legal
immigrants already here and the communities they have joined.
Educators who want to better understand the serious pitfalls of diversity
and multiculturalism are advised to read the relatively short (both are
about 150 pages long) books by Hanson (2003) and Schlesinger (1991).


Bauer, G.
2007 “Lessons from the Immigration Debacle.” Human Events, July 6, 2007.
Beck, R.

“Sorting Through Humanitarian Clashes in Immigration”. Available at:
shesinimmigration.pdfBeck, R. and S. A. Camarota.

“Elite vs. Public Opinion: An Examination of Divergent Views on
Immigration.” Washington, D.C.: Center for Immigration Studies, December

Borgas, G.
2001 “Let’s be clear about who we want to let in.” Washington Post. December 23,
Bryant, E.
2006 “Only educated aliens need apply in Europe.” Washington Times. May 8, 2006
Camarota, S. A.

“Backgrounder: Immigrants in the United States, 2007: A Profile of
America’s Foreign-Born Population.” Washington, D.C.: Center for
Immigration Studies, November 2007.

CDC – Centers for Disease Control.
2007 “Trends in Tuberculosis Incidence – United States, 2006.” Morbidity and
Mortality Weekly Report 56(11);245-250, March 23, 2007.
Chip, W. W. and Scaperlanda
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“The Impact of Unauthorized Immigrants on the Budget of State and Local
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Surgeons 10(1):6-10.
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21, 2006.
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Fields, S.
2005 “Second chance for ‘Western Civ’.” Washington Times, August 4, 2005.
Hakimzadeh, S. and D. Cohn.
2007 “English Usage Among Hispanics in the United States.” Washington, D.C.:
Pew Hispanic Center, November 29, 2007.
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2005 “A Debate going nowhere.” Washington Times, June 11, 2005.
Hanson, V. D.
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House, B.
2005 “Plan Wouldn’t Count Non-citizens in Deciding States’ representation.”
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Lambe, S., Washington, D. L., Fink, A., et al.
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Lambro, D.
2005 “Poll finds Hispanics split on illegals, immigration.” Washington Times Aug.
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2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture.” Scandinavian Political Studies 30(2):137

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Rector, R. E. and C. Kim.
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